Guest Post: Cynthia~ ‘En Español!’ A Latina Mom’s Plight
Today’s guest post is by Cynthia. Cynthia and I met at a blogging event. Since then, she and I have become very good friends. She is raising her daughter to be fully bilingual and I’ve personally seen this mami and nena in action. They are truly inspirational.
Please welcome, Cynthia
I’m a first generation Mexican American. Like many Latino families, we only spoke Spanish at home, and the church services we attended were in Spanish. As a matter of fact I didn’t start speaking English until I started Kindergarten! I dream (mainly) in Spanish; I think and count in Spanish. Because of my upbringing I’m now well versed in both languages.
Fast forward to several decades later: I’m a mom with a toddler, and I insist on having a bi-lingual home. My husband and I speak to our daughter exclusively in Spanish. Most of the books we read to her are in Spanish and the ones that are in English we simply ad-lib and read to her in Spanish; even the movies and TV shows that she watches are in Spanish! Thankfully, our efforts have proven fruitful as her Spanish is crystal clear (as clear as it can be for a three year old). We receive lots of praise when we’re out in public and people hear us talk to her in Spanish, “Keep it up! Felicidades!” they tell us.
Here’s the thing – most of our extended family, although they’re also first generation Mexican American, speak mostly in English. At family gatherings, my little one quickly switches to English to speak to her cousins, aunts, uncles and my husband’s parents (albeit with a cute Mexican accent). Initially it bothered me that they wouldn’t make more of an effort to speak Spanish to their kids, much less to mine, but I realized my priorities are different than others. They’re not better or worse, just different!
So I’ve now accepted the fact that it’s up to us, her parents, to instill the importance of Spanish to her and continue to speak to her en español. I’m not worried about her English-language skills, she’ll master that (as I did) when she starts school. Speaking of school, we’re looking for a bilingual program, one where she’s taught in both languages…is that asking too much?
In the interim, anytime I catch her speaking to me/us in English, I tell her, “No te entiendo, español por favor.” So far, it’s worked out great. A little too well, I think. Now, whenever she catches my husband and I speaking in English, she insists “En español por favor!” Be careful what you ask for…or be thankful.
I love the way your daughter speaks Spanish. I can listen to her talk all day long. Thanks, Cynthia!
Liz is a Mexican-American blogger living in Southern California. Married 19 years, and a mami to 3 kids, her content is inspired from living in and raising a multicultural familia. Liz has been blogging for more than 7 years, establishing herself as a nationally recognized Latina blogger. She often blogs in Spanglish and may throw in some Tagalog when talking about her hubby. You can also find her chit chatting away at @Liz_Cerezo on Twitter!